© Koji Sasahara
This year, HAL Laboratory – most known for the Kirby and EarthBound series, as well as its work on the early Super Smash Bros. games – celebrates its 40th anniversary. Back in February, near the specific anniversary date, the company launched a celebratory website alongside a lovely piece of new artwork.
In a new issue of Japanese magazine, Famitsu, a number of legendary developers and studio heads from companies close to HAL have shared congratulatory messages. The list includes the likes of Super Smash Bros. director Masahiro Sakurai, Game Freak’s Junichi Masuda, and Nintendo’s very own Shigeru Miyamoto.
Nintendo Life contributor Robert Sephazon has provided a full translation of Miyamoto’s comments. Miyamoto fondly remembers working alongside ex-HAL president Satoru Iwata – who, of course, went on to become Nintendo president in later years – and more. You can read his full comments below.
“HAL was established when I was still developing Donkey Kong. Representing Nintendo, I’ve been working with HAL since they developed “Pinball” and “Golf” for the Famicom, but I became deeply involved during the development of “3D Hot Rally,” where Mario also appeared.
“Many of the people at HAL had interesting development techniques, and each one was entirely unique. It was fun to work with them to create new things that make full use of game physics as well as programming techniques.
“After the release of the Super Famicom, Mr. Iwata, who was the head engineer, said I was clever. ‘Mr. Miyamoto and his colleagues take the specifications of the hardware ahead of time to make appealing products, so nothing is neglected when they finish.’ A true compliment.
“After Kirby was released, I became further involved in game development led by HAL. After HAL’s head office moved to Yamanashi, I had a business trip where I could take a bath within full view of Mt. Fuji – I still remember it fondly.
“The experiment of developing Super Smash Bros. was a risky balancing act. Regarding development, when Mr. Iwata found a solution, his suggestions were always clear and confident, and I often repeated short meetings to present to Nintendo. This was often to create new products.
“I realize I’m talking more about Mr. Iwata, but the approach of craftsmanship at that time still thrives in the games that HAL is developing, and in Kirby’s role outside of his own game. I hope HAL’s success will continue and will celebrate again in 40 more years. Best of luck!”
You can see the full thread and more translations by visiting Robert’s Twitter account if you’re interested.
We sure hope HAL’s success continues, too. To the next 40 years!